Welcome to Family Pride CAMP!
Every family is different, but all families share one thing: Love!
The weekend of June 26-28, CAMP Rehoboth will sponsor the first-ever Family Pride CAMP, celebrating the wonderful diversity among families at the beach.
There will be organized kid-friendly activities all weekend, featuring bouncy-castles, a pizza party, parent’s-night-out, a seaside BBQ, beach games, a farewell brunch, and more.
When CAMP Rehoboth hosts Family Pride CAMP, it will bring to Rehoboth a little bit of what parents David Salie and Mark Bromley discovered a couple of years ago in Provincetown—an event where the families looked like theirs.
Now, with their daughter Tallulah and son Justice, Salie and Bromley, are helping lead CAMP Rehoboth’s Family Pride CAMP. Also part of the leadership team is Tara Sheldon, mom to Emerson. They are working together to make Rehoboth Beach memories for their children.
We asked David, Mark, and Tara a few questions.
Letters: How did this idea come about?
Tara: I have been coordinating CAMP Families for a few years now and it has been instrumental in bringing LGBT families together—both local and visitors. I envision Pride weekend to be much more than just fun times. Being able to share resources and provide support for some of the challenges our families face continues to be imperative despite the many gains we have made.
Mark: We’ve talked for a few years about how we’re gradually seeing more and more “gay-bies” on Poodle Beach and how nice it would be to have some sort of celebration here in Rehoboth to bring gay families together. We mentioned it last fall to Steve and Murray and were delighted that they seemed to jump on the idea.
Letters: What do you imagine for the event and can you tell me how you and your family will participate?
David: The schedule of events runs from Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. It’s very laid-back and casual. We’re hoping that families can choose events to join, but they’ll always have something they can go to all weekend long. The registration reception on Friday at CAMP Rehoboth should be a great way to start the weekend and break the ice among kids and families.
There’ll be beach-centered activities: North Shores on Saturday, Poodle on Sunday, and Mark and I are hosting the farewell lunch at our house, just a few steps from Poodle Beach, beginning Sunday at noon. We’re looking forward to getting people’s reactions and to gauge interest in making it an annual event.
Mark: We are hoping to organize a tour of the Rehoboth Beach Fire Station as well. It’s so iconic, and our son loves fire trucks. He has a song that he sings with some pretty cute two-year-old lyrics: “I Wanna Ride in a Firetruck.” And they both love bouncing at Shell We Bounce, which will provide babysitting on Saturday night while parents gather for a kid-free dinner.
Tara: Emerson and I will participate in everything we can.
Letters: Do you and your children already have a group of same-gender parents in town as a support system, or do you envision this event building that group?
Mark/David: We do know some gay families, but we’re always interested in meeting more. Our kids are now at the age where they really cue in to social groupings and ideas of what’s “normal” or socially “acceptable,” so we want to give them as many examples as possible of diverse, loving families. As two white dads with adoptive children of color, one of our family values is to recognize that families come in all sorts of combinations. It doesn’t matter what gender they are or whether they share the same skin color. What matters is that they love each other.
Tara: Yes. I met everyone through CAMP Families and was quickly recruited to coordinate it! When the kids were younger we had play dates all the time. I think I speak for all of us in saying our kids know families come in all varieties—they have grown up with it. Having more participation from the out of towners will be helpful in showing even more diversity.
Letters: What else do you want readers to know about the event, your families, and how CAMP volunteers can assist?
Mark: We are proud to support CAMP Rehoboth and it’s work to make Rehoboth an LGBT-affirming destination. And this month in particular, as we celebrate Pride month and hopefully a victory for marriage equality in the U.S. Supreme Court, I think it’s appropriate to celebrate some of the children of LGBT families who we have fought so hard to defend in court.
Tara: I hope we can get the older LGBT community more involved with the LGBT children who face numerous challenges at school including bullying and faculty who are in desperate need of training on these issues. We need to continue to stand up and speak up. The battle has not yet been won.
Registration is open at $30 per adult; $15 per kid; $90 per family (max). Plus optional add-ons, such as babysitting, and parent’s dinner at a local restaurant. Sign up on the CAMP Rehoboth website.